In today’s job market, having an impressive resume is crucial for getting your foot in the door. However, with the rise of applicant tracking systems and AI resume screening, crafting a resume that will make it past the initial filters is becoming increasingly challenging. According to studies, over 75% of resumes submitted online are filtered out before ever reaching human eyes.
To boost your chances of success, the key is understanding how resume screening software works and optimizing your resume content accordingly. Here are some top tips:
Use Relevant Keywords
Just like with SEO, applicant tracking systems scan for specific keywords and phrases related to the job posting. Be sure to thoroughly read through the job description and note any hard skills, qualifications, certifications, etc. that are requested. Then, work those same exact terms into your resume bullet points wherever relevant. Avoid relying too much on synonyms, as the software may not recognize these.
Structure Content Clearly
ATS software looks for structured content, so make your resume easy to scan. Use clear headers, bullet points, and consistent formatting throughout. Avoid complex tables, images, unusual fonts and colors. Stick with a simple, clean layout highlighting your professional background. ProTip: Left-justify everything instead of centering content.
Optimize For Mobile
Today’s resume screening increasingly happens on mobile devices. Ensure your resume is mobile-friendly by using a simple template with plenty of white space. Avoid tiny fonts and crammed content. Use short paragraphs and bullet points to make the text easy to read on a small screen.
Check for Errors
Any typos or grammatical errors could be an instant rejection, as hiring managers may perceive this as carelessness. Be sure to thoroughly proofread and run your resume through spell-checkers. However, be wary of relying too much on technology – have a real person double check as well.
List Your Full Work History
Your resume should include your full work history, even if more than 10-15 years. Omitting older roles may appear suspicious to software filters and could cost you the chance to showcase all of your experience. Let the hiring manager decide what is most relevant.
Use Numbers Wisely
Quantifying your accomplishments with numbers and metrics can help capture an ATS’s attention. However, avoid simply listing random numbers and figures. Only highlight measurable facts that demonstrate positive outcomes you achieved for employers.
Choose the Right File Type
Submit your resume in a universally acceptable file format like PDF, Word or Text. Avoid image file types, as ATS systems typically cannot scan and extract data from these. Even if human recruiters see an image resume, they will often expect a Word version for their own editing.
Test It Out
The best way to see if your resume will pass the ATS test is to run it through the same software employers use. Services like JobScan will assess your resume against the job description and highlight areas for improvement. This allows you to refine your keywords, formatting and content before applying.
Mastering modern resume writing takes effort, but pays dividends in your job search. With an understanding of how screening software works plus these resume optimization tips, you can craft a document that showcases your qualifications while still impressing the robots. Keep your skills fresh, highlight relevant achievements, and let your resume open up more interview opportunities.